Dubai is home to more than 180 different nationalities, all of whom have their own driving abilities and habits. Therefore, driving in Dubai can be a challenge and may seem intimidating initially. Although, those from western nations may find the roads chaotic, those from Asian or Arab nations may find the driving rather organized. However, with driving experience in Dubai, and basic knowledge of local driving regulations, expats will feel comfortable when taking to Dubai roads.
Dubai Police and Roads and Transport Authority play a vital role in ensuring safety and traffic regulations and using smart technology to ensure that traffic violations are kept to a minimum. Dubai follows a system of black points which could lead to confiscation of your driving license in case of non-adherence to traffic rules. If you break the traffic or parking rules, you can conveniently pay fines online, but this facility is only for minor infringements.
Driving in Dubai requires a driving license, and to acquire local driving license, one must hold a residence visa. Until then, a car can be rented, but for that, you will also need an International Driving Permit and a driving license from your home country. Alternatively, you can opt for a Temporary Driving License, with six month validity, if you wish to drive a private car.
The Dubai Police can impose traffic fines upon you on violating any of the traffic rules. Violation of traffic rules will also leave serious consequences like jail terms or confiscation of the vehicle. Therefore, in order to drive a vehicle in Dubai, it is imperative that you keep yourself updated about the common traffic offences and related Dubai traffic fines associated with these violations.
General Traffic Rules
The city traffic police have installed speed cameras that can catch pictures of speeding vehicles. On being caught, you will be fined, which will add up to your list of outstanding Dubai traffic fines. This can be checked online as well, by simply entering your vehicle plate number.
In Dubai, speed limits on roads are clearly indicated by road signs which vary based on road type. Generally, speed limits are 40 to 80 km in urban areas, 25km/h in parking areas and on service roads, and 100 to 120 km on main highways and on roads to other emirates. On highways there is also a minimum speed limit of 60km, while in residential areas, speed limits can be as low as 40km. Yellow lines painted across the road indicate an oncoming speed bump.
Speeding fines are paid when renewing vehicle registration, as it is impossible to renew vehicle registration unless all fines have been paid.
Driving under influence of alcohol/drugs
Common traffic violations like dangerous driving, driving vehicle under influence of drugs or alcohol or any other similar substance, over-speeding, can all attract huge fines.
Dubai adopts zero tolerance policy and a zero blood alcohol limit when driving. Those involved in accident or stopped for any such driving offence will certainly be cross-verified. Plain-clothes officers are on road at all times and have the right to stop and check anyone they please. Penalties, if caught for violation, will be severe ranging from hefty fines to imprisonment or confiscation of driver’s license and 24 black points will be entered on the driver’s record.
In the case of diplomatic staff, it can even lead to loss of job, loss of sponsorship and deportation. In fact, the Dubai Police Department encourages use of Safedriver service, wherein, for a small fee, a chauffeur will drive the car and passengers home.
Using road shoulder
The RTA also advises all motorists to avoid the road shoulder, except during an emergency. The road shoulder should be used only for resting or when using a mobile phone, as it may block an ambulance or police car. According to the RTA an emergency for motorists can be an exceptional circumstance such as vehicle breakdown or medical emergency. Motorists can be fined Dh.600 and given six black points on their license if they overtake on the road shoulder, while parking on the road shoulder without a valid reason can lead to Dh.200 fine.
Parking is readily available near shopping centers, hotels and supermarkets in Dubai. In general, the car parks attached to these places are free of charge. Elsewhere, there will be several pay and display parking meters operating from Saturday to Thursday. A four-hour maximum parking time is applicable almost everywhere. Illegally parked vehicles are usually towed away.
Metered parking payments can be also made through Du or Etisalat mobile phone via mParking service. Motorists just have to send a text to 7275 to renew their parking ticket. The parking fines are levied if a ticket has not been displayed, or if payment has not been made.
In the case of disabled, permits can be obtained from the RTA on presentation of medical report from Rashid hospital, a driver’s license and car registration details. Applications need to be made in person. Various types of parking permits are provided, depending on the degree of disability of the person. Enough parking spaces and ramps are available near building and lifts for access of people with disabilities.
Rules in case of Accidents
Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in UAE. Drivers should particularly look out for unmarked speed bumps, pedestrians crossing and drifting sand as they can cause visibility problems. Drivers are required to carry valid driving licenses and keep their insurance documents and registration card in the car at all times.
The punishment for causing death of other due to wrongful driving is decided by the court, after taking into consideration several aspects such as driving conditions, situation under which accident might have taken place. In fact, if you do not stop after causing an accident, this is also a serious violation under Dubai traffic rules.
By law, third party liability coverage is minimum level of motor insurance necessary for all vehicles driven in Dubai. The third party liability only covers the owner’s liability for death, injury or damage to the property of third parties.
In the event of an accident, dial the emergency hotline 999 and ask for traffic police. In case of minor accident with little damage or no injuries, the phone operator may advise both parties to drive to the nearest police station to complete the appropriate forms.
If possible, vehicles should be moved to the side of the road to avoid traffic jams when waiting for the traffic police to arrive. If this is not done, fines may be imposed. On assessing the accident, police will give a pink copy of their report form to the driver if driver is at fault, and will give green copy to the innocent party. To repair a car, either copy of the form is required at the garages.
The driving license of the person responsible for the accident will have to be surrendered to the traffic police and it may be necessary to pay a fee before it is returned. The person who receives the pink form should take the vehicle to insurance company as soon as possible. They may arrange for repairs to the vehicle and offer a letter to be taken to the police station, so that license can be returned. The person with green form should take it the other driver’s insurance company, who will arrange to have the vehicle repaired.
However, even minor accidents may lead to lengthy legal proceedings, and during this time, both drivers may be prohibited from leaving the country.
In case of serious accidents, call 999 and request for an ambulance and police assistance. Particularly, when during serious accident or death, the driver at fault can expect imprisonment or huge fine, followed by deportation. Further ‘Diya’ or blood money is imposed for causing death willfully or by accident. The minimum fine as per Dubai Courts is Dh200,000 and may be higher depending on circumstances and claims by victim’s family.
Driving License Rules
A driving license is a must for anyone who wishes to drive in Dubai. This is also applicable to tourists and temporary residents, who can drive with an International Driving Permit, as long as they hold a valid license issued by one of the several approved countries.
Those seeking to become residents of Dubai should apply for a Dubai license. Expatriates from certain countries can exchange their existing license for a Dubai license, but, new drivers or those without a valid Dubai driving license, and drivers with licenses from a non-approved country, will have to undergo a full driving test.
Dubai follows black points system for driving offences. If you receive 24 black points within a span of one year, your driving license will be suspended and you may have to wait for at least three months before they issue your license again. Repeat offenders will incur higher penalties.
In case of violations, here is full list of the Dubai Police traffic violations, the fine amount, the black points awarded for the infringement and the length of time of vehicle impoundment (as given in Dubai Police website). Visit the website www.dubaipolice.gov.ae for more information.
View list of traffic offences, fines and black points here.
To check for traffic fines
To pay fines online, you can first check for any traffic fines that you may have got on the Dubai Police website www.dubaipolice.gov.ae/dp/english/e services. Apart from checking the status of your traffic file, you can also see if you have fines and pay it online too. If you have been issued a ticket for bad parking, for instance, it is better to check the website over a few days, as it may take a couple of days for your fines to appear on the system.
To use the online facility, log on to the website www.dubaipolice.gov.ae and register for free notification SMS or emails. You will have to provide your vehicle information, driver information, mobile number and email.
For checking for traffic fines online, go to the Dubai Police website mentioned above. Under the option traffic services, click on "Traffic Fines Inquiry and Payment Service". Now, you can "Click to access the service". Enter the fine number, driver’s license number or your plate number.
This will display any outstanding fines including fines given by RTA, SALIK, Dubai Police or the Dubai Courts.
All your traffic fines will have to be completely cleared before renewal or re-registration of any of your cars. It is best to clear the bills on time, so that you do not end up with a massive bill.
Traffic fine payment methods
There are three main payment methods of traffic fines:
- You can pay in person at the traffic department that issued the fine. However, it may not be your local traffic department, as it depends on where you were caught speeding. This approach can be time-consuming, but, this is the only approach that allows you to pay in cash.
- Fines can be paid electronically online. This may be a more convenient method of payment that can also save time.
- The latest among the payment methods is mPay, a payment channel offered by the Dubai eGovernment that offers electronic payment solutions using the mobile phone.
- Few other methods of payment are by calling Dubai Polices call centre, going to Dubai Police self-service kiosk, or paying fines at Emirates Bank ATMs. However, the easiest way to pay fines would be online on the Dubai Police website.
- Another good option is to use a traffic fine management service to deal with the whole process. The benefits of this are two-fold. First of all, the service personnel are experienced in handling these fines and can handle it for you in an efficient manner. They also get it paid at a minimal discount rate. Moreover, in case you have a dispute over your fine, they can tell you whether the dispute is worth pursuing and handle the communication with the Municipality and the court. This service is not only used by companies for their fleet management, but also used by private individuals in order to save time and money.
Tips to avoid traffic fines
- The first and foremost way to avoid being fined is to maintain the speed limits strictly, as some speed cameras are set at even 1km above the speed limit, and it is not worth taking the risk.
- Take care of parking. If you park in a metered zone, pay at the meter. This can even by done by SMS now. Make note of the time when the ticket expires, set an alarm on your phone, so that you do not forget.
- Avoid using the mobile phone when driving. If at all you have to use it for an emergency, use your hands free kit – either in car or a head piece if you really must answer the phone when driving.
- Always wear a seat belt. Apart from being imperative for safety, it goes without saying that you can get caught if you are not wearing it. Also ensure that all your passengers are wearing theirs too.
- Never jump a red light. Apart from being highly dangerous, it carries heavy fines. In fact, even if the green lights begin to flash, it only means to begin to slow down, and not to speed past through them.
- Finally, it goes without saying, do not drink and drive!!
For other inquiries or appeal against traffic fines
To appeal against a traffic fine, you need to personally visit the customer service section of Dubai Traffic Prosecution, behind Dubai Police Headquarters. You will have to fill up a form explaining reasons for your appeal against unjustified fine and submit your ID. The appeal process takes about two to three weeks. If your appeal is upheld then the fine will be cancelled immediately. If you have been fined directly by the police for an accident which you believe is not your fault, you will have to file a similar appeal at the police station.
Contact details of Dubai traffic department:
General Department of Traffic
Direct Line: +971 4 217 2300
Business Hours:, for traffic services (24 hours): +971 4 269 4444
Feedback for the Department of Fines and Violations: 7:30 am - 2:30 pm
Fax : +971 4 266 8969
PO Box 1493, Dubai
- Fines Section -Diera: +9714 2172220, +9714 2172112
- Fines Section- AlBarsha: +9714 3111414
- For Interactive Voice Response call 8007777
Abu Dhabi Traffic Authorities plan to intensify penalties against road violators by scrapping the long-standing 50 percent discount in fines, particularly for speeding.
According to police, violators will now have to pay the entire fine and those committing serious offences would be severely punished when new regulations are implemented shortly.
The Director General of Central Operations, Abu Dhabi Police, Brig. Hussein Al Harthi, said that the 50 percent cut in traffic fines will be cancelled in two months. Thereafter, severe measures would be taken against reckless drivers who commit offences exceeding Dh.10,000.
The offences would be linked to other local departments and to immigration and airport, and hence, expats who commit offences would be barred from leaving UAE if they do not pay fines.
The police will intensify road surveillance by deploying more police patrol and speed cameras to check offenders and improve safety on roads in the emirate.